Even as the Tears Fall…

Jesus met me in my kitchen today. I stood in front of a sink piled high with drying dishes, horses grazing in the neighbor’s field and kids dancing in the living room. It didn’t matter that I was in the middle of lunch preparations or that my son asked me for the location of a bookmark. When Jesus shows up, everything else can wait.

A friend asked me the other day how I was doing. I told her in all honesty how filled I have been with hope. This past week has served as confirmation that what I have in faith proclaimed, God is indeed doing. Today, however, hope feels waned.

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Potential Match

I was driving when it hit me. The ground was covered in white powder. A chill was in the air. Christmas time smells waft about every store entrance. Yet my mind was stayed on one thing: A random thought that took root suddenly transforming my perspective. 

I am a rainbow baby. 

I was conceived after loss. The bone deep pain of miscarrying a child was soothed in a way with my expectancy. I’ve heard the story all my life. I’ve been told how my sibling resides in Heaven waiting to meet us. The stories of how my first kick brought sudden joy after the unexpected loss of my grandfather. How my great grandmother died before I was born, yet I arrived on the her first birthday spent in Heaven; bringing joy to my family on a day that should have been filled with sorrow. These stories of how I received my middle name because my presence was a source of joy on gloomy days. Yet, never had I connected the dots to refer to myself as a rainbow baby. 

Adoption is born out of loss. The severed loss of biological ties for the child and sometimes an adoptive family’s bout with infertility. We’ve had so many ask if infertility was the reason we pursued adoption. The answer is no. For us, that was never an issue. In fact, the depression I experienced in my first pregnancy (which in part drove us to adopt) came about by how quickly I became pregnant. My crisis was rooted in how I didn’t feel* ready for the changes occurring. 

Another thought hit me yesterday as we sat in church behind a couple with twin baby girls. I would guess they were around three months old. I could probably tell you their age if I’d been brave enough to approach them and share how much I enjoyed watching them. But I was too wrapped up in my own sadness of longing. So I didn’t. 

Why did God call us two years ago to this journey for us to sit here in this undefined space of waiting?

I’ve pondered this question for a solid twenty-four hours. One one hand, I’m no closer to an actual answer now than I was when it hit me. On the other hand I, once again, have assurance of two things: One, God is good at being God. He has impeccable timing. It just isn’t the same as my own desired timeline. Second, no tear is wasted. I may not know it now – or ever – but there is purpose in this wait. Maybe, just maybe, we needed to experience some loss – loss of our ideal and our control, the loss of potential matches and the directions we thought our story might go – to more fully appreciate the abundance of God’s design in His adoption plan taking root here.¬†

I struggled through the day yesterday with tears brimming at every turn. It was another day filled with questions and doubt and longing. In part, I blame the dreamy places I allowed my mind to travel as I watched those adorable little girls. In other ways, its because of my own perceived notions of chastisement in the waiting. But then my phone dinged with a notification. I’d been waiting for an email, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw I had one. I was however at the sender: The adoption agency.

This week, our profile book will be presented to a mom due smack dab in the middle of our birthday extravaganza – the two week span into which all four of our family birthdays fall as well as several extended family members. I know, it sounds crazy! Why ask for yet another birthday to land in the midst of that? My concern turned prayer all along this journey has been that our adopted child would not feel ostracized with a birthday landing at the opposite end of the calendar. To some children that might seem better. To others, like I was as a child, it would feel like an exclusion from the family. 

So, here we are.
Praying.
Hard.

Will you join us? 

This will be the third time our profile book is presented. It could very easily be dismissed yet again. This child may not be destined to be ours. But then again, it may. My prayer throughout all of this has been that when it is our turn to be chosen, the child in their mother’s womb would leap for joy. I pray this would be a sign and a source of peace to her that we are the right family for her child. 

Who knows, maybe this child is our rainbow baby.

Whether that’s the case or not, I can say with certainty: This year, the season of advent, the mounting anticipation awaiting the Savior’s birth, is not lost on me. God was doing something amazing in the years of waiting for the Messiah. He’s doing something amazing now.


*Crisis is defined as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. I emphasize the feeling words because it was anxiety that brought on my depression; a crisis rooted in my emotions not in my circumstances.  I want to be very clear on that because though I feel I can empathize through personal experience – not relate – with a mother in a crisis pregnancy on the emotional toll depression can have in unexpected pregnancy situations, I cannot and will not attempt to link ourselves in any way circumstantially.


Curious how this whole thing works? 

Here’s the generalized gist: 

  • Expectant mom, and when possible dad, are counseled by the adoption agency on whether or not creating an adoption plan is right for their child.
  • A few adoptive families with matching criteria are approached with each given situation and asked for permission to present their personalized profile book to said mom/couple. 
  • Typically only a few profile books (created by the adoptive families) are presented at a time. If she chooses to make an adoption plan, she selects a family.
  • From there, things can vary depending on the situation. Sometimes they desire to meet with the adoptive family, sometimes not. Specifics are sketchy, but once the two are officially “matched” monies are paid from adoptive family to the agency for processing fees and expectant mom for specific living expenses. 
  • Then, upon the child’s birth and subsequent placement in the adoptive family’s home, the largest sum of finances are due to help cover additional fees, legal requirements, post placement living expenses for mom, etc.
  • Follow-up visits occur with the adoptive family until the adoption is finalized as well as with mom (as long as she’s willing).

The Details Write the Story

Most of the time, stories are told in hindsight. They may not exactly be finished (And they lived happily ever after) but they certainly have closed a chapter, completed that trek, finished out that portion of the tale. We see it on television shows and movies. It stares us down in books and podcasts and even real-life accounts. If it’s being shared, it’s finished at least in some degree.

 

Sometimes, I chastise myself for not being farther along in this story of ours. I want to be the one telling the story from the other side. I want to be the one who has crossed over that proverbial line and have landed in the territory I’ve dreamed of arriving.

 

 

Whether or not it is actually the case, I feel left behind in some way. I mean, obviously the grass on the storyteller side of the line is greener, right? It just has to be more lush to the touch with the bare spots of this side eliminated with no trace of their existence.¬† Yet, here I’m left wandering in this land of the story-in-the-making.

 

Not too long ago, I picked up a book at the library, A Treasury of Adoption Miracles by Karen Kingsbury. Every chapter a new, real-life adoption story is told. The themes of redemption, beauty from ashes and Divine set-up ring through every tale. I finish each one with tears in my eyes as the Holy Spirit nurtures this heart longing for the “end” of the story.

 

Often times I hesitate to post here. I frantically worry that each new post of “still waiting” will bore you, our tribe, and lessen the hype we feel in welcoming a new member of our family. Instead, I sit by the crib now set up in our bedroom and inwardly bear the weight of threadbare hope. I muster the courage each new day to say, “This could be it! But…probably not.” I fight through the longing to give in to the despair by counting my blessings; reminding myself these days of the Reads being a party of four will only be a few days more. Then I feel guilty for ever doubting…

 

Yet, lately, one theme has broken through this shroud I’ve built to try and protect my aching heart: God is the details – and the details write the story. No, this story isn’t over yet. It is still in-the-making. I don’t have the details of when and how and where and who…but I know my Jesus. He didn’t come only to surrender his life for you and I. He came to bring the fullness of the Kingdom of God to us mere mortals every day his feet touched this dust-riddled earth. We didn’t know the whole story, couldn’t see the proverbial line to be stepped across, yet He continued proclaiming it even while it was being written.

 

So I too, no matter how many posts have to be tagged with the theme “still waiting”, have determined to share even as the story unfolds. First because we aren’t the only ones waiting for something. We aren’t alone in the land of “wandering” as the story is still in-the-making. Even those who seem to have crossed over that proverbial line into greener pastures still end each chapter with an “and” as the story marches on. The new chapter immediately taking root, no time to glory in the “finality” of one portion because, if I’m honest, their story is still in-the-making too.

 

Second because God is the details, I want to keep a record of His faithfulness. I don’t want to forget a single one. The days I have sat next to an expectant crib in the same chair I nursed my babies into the wee hours of the morning with a book in my hand as the Holy Spirit soothed my worried heart need to be marked. They need recorded as I note His faithful attention. People – even you – may tire of this “still-in-the-writing” phase of such an elaborate plan. I don’t blame you. It’s hard to keep momentum when it seems no movement is occurring. But my Jesus, He sits with me here. He stokes the hair from my teary face confronting every concern with a promise: He is good at the details – even the ones that are hard to bear – and more than I can see are taking place.

 

So, no, this story isn’t finished. It isn’t tied with a bow and offered as a complete tale. This isn’t even an update of forward progress, per say. It’s yet again, another still-in-the-making, hold-onto-hope heart-to-heart. But the hope I have is rooted not in our agency, not in the words of others and certainly not in a broken system. It is solely rooted in my God who’s been faithful before, is faithful now and will be faithful again. It is grounded in the¬†fact He’s good at the details. And the details write the story.

 

Not Okay…

Singing was my passion. Growing up I loved to share my gift. However, that didn’t make it easy.¬† On stage at our little country church, my heart would pound within me as the nerves sent trembling¬†waves through my chicken legs. I would avoid all eye contact but a few safe choices in the crowd. The honesty and genuine appreciation of my song of praise resounded through every smile of their shining eyes.

 

It bolstered my confidence to sing the next note.
And the next.
And the next.

At an early age, I had decided singing would be my career; my calling. I would sing everywhere I went hoping to be discovered by some big-wig passing through our little town of Ashtabula. Looking back, it feels like a silly dream. Less silly even so, however, than why it died: One negative criticism had a lasting effect.

It held me back from even pursuing any aspect of my passion for singing. I settled for the “easier” choir to get into in college. Fear held my vocal chords in knots at the one audition I pursued and at the declined result, I never tried again.

And that pattern has only continued.
It has held me back time and time again.
In far more ways than singing.

It’s this fear of stepping out onto the stage of life where the watching eyes form assumptions and conclusions based on one three minute segment. Where I’m judged by what I do or don’t do, say or don’t say, act or don’t act.¬†Will she succeed or will she fail; rise to the top or fall flat?¬†

Sure, writing it here sounds ridiculous, but I’m convinced I’m not the only one. I mean there’s a reason Wayne Gretzky’s quote is so popular, right?

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Adoption…

 

Adoption is scary. Plain and simple. Everyone has an opinion on it – ones they are often not afraid to share. Some are great! Some are harsh. Some come from personal experience; others come from simple-minded assumptions.

 

It feels as if I have stepped¬†onto this proverbial stage; one far greater than any I’ve previously known. I made the leap. Took the chance. I thought I’d set aside the fear to get here. Yet here it’s chased me down once more. The longer I stand here, the more intimidated I feel. The old patterns creep up my neck and threaten to strangle the progress the Lord has made in this heart.

 

The expression says, “No news is good news.” Usually meaning that no news from a friend often means things are good for them. However, as I dwell in this uncertain time of waiting, no news is hard to endure. It’s hard to continue answering the question of progress with, “Still waiting.” (Though the more I’m asked, the more I appreciate how we are thought of and our situation is cared for by so many.) I will also say, however, after three “rejections” – where a couple other than us was chosen to parent the child given by his/her mother/parents – I’m not sure my heart could handle such continual news anyway.

 

And so here we are still waiting.
The longing still present.
The desire still prevalent.

 

Yet all of it curbed in the fear it will never come to fruition.

 

I tend to tie up each of my posts here with an “it’s-all-good” feeling. Why, you ask? Because I need to believe it. The dialogue in my head fills the gamut between “This waiting is only for a season” to “It’ll never happen.”

 

And so I tie up every loose end with hope; hope my heart is desperately clinging to day-in and day-out. Hope this process won’t be for not. Hope that the God who calls, not only equips but is faithful in the details.

 

If I’m honest though, I’m not okay.
I’m weary.

 

My heart is pounding in my chest. I can feel the trembling waves course through my veins as the song continues to beg for my input. So I’m looking for those eyes in the audience. The eyes that will continue to believe¬†in me and¬†for me; in us and for¬†us. Who will gaze this direction with the warmth of their smiling eyes; who will exude confidence and bolster our own to go on to the next note…
And the next…
And the next…

 

 

 

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 34:19

The Dance of the Skies

This morning I awoke early. The glowing moon was huge in the night sky as it made its final decent. Though my first instinct was to snap a picture, the camera couldn’t grasp even a fraction of the beauty. So there I sat, perched at the window as the moon slipped below the horizon line, setting like the evening sun. The glow about it, hazed and divided by the ribbons of wispy clouds, chased swiftly after its source and soon disappeared as well. All that was left was the soft light of the early morning air devoid of a focal point.

 

Hours passed before the first morning light began to skip across the cloud ridges; turning the darkened sky aglow with shades of crimson and raspberry and scarlet. The dance illuminated the entire sky, sweeping from one side to the other. Until finally, the sun itself appeared over the ridge line. The shift in position pointed rays of sunlight across the frost covered earth as it awakened from the night’s rest.

 

Daily I’m overwhelmed with the vastness of the heavens. Mesmerized I gaze upward as the rhythms sway in and out the days; the clouds roll in and out the storms. With the constant expanse ever transpires a new surprise. Humbled yet filled with purpose I heed its display.

 

As this wait to be matched with our child draws out, the skies daily comfort this longing heart. The incredulous array of daily wonder are a steady reminder our God is in control. His voice that spoke into existence the grandness in which I marvel is still speaking life over our story.

 

We are not forgotten.
We are not dismayed.
We do not wait in despair or vain.

 

The timing this morning was perfect to witness such enormous splendor in the moon’s descent. I’m praying for eyes wide open as to not miss the miraculous in this season. Humbled, yet filled with purpose, I heed its display.

 

Today, I wait with renewed hope on the God who set in motion the dance of the skies. I marvel at how He is transforming this heart of mine as we live in the ebb and flow of this waiting. And I trust His perfect timing even as I long for it to be in mine.  After all, the most vibrant colors paint the sky when the sun in just out of reach.